Work is underway for fair redistricting

Even as excitement mounts about the upcoming 2024 elections, work is already underway to ensure increased redistricting fairness after the 2030 Census.

A bipartisan coalition led by Fair Districts PA has drafted a constitutional amendment to create an Independent Redistricting Commission for PA. It was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 14, 2024 as House Bill 1776, sponsored by Representatives Samuelson and Gillen. Sen. Tim Kearney, sponsor of the parallel Senate Bill 1076, describes the work this way: “The legislation represents the best of our democracy, puts our noble ideals over worst instincts and transcends party lines.” That’s been the Fair Districts PA goal from the start: district lines that don’t give preference to either party, but allow all communities and all voters an equal voice.

The Legislation would amend Pennsylvania’s Constitution to establish an Independent Redistricting Commission consisting of 11 members: four voters registered with each of the two major political parties, and three voters not registered with a major party. It would reflect PA’s geographic, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity. The legislation would also establish clear and verified metrics for identifying the fairest district maps.

Why are people already working on this when the census is six years away? Amending the PA Constitution is a long process. Amendments must pass both houses of the legislature twice, in consecutive sessions, and then go before the people in a referendum.

To learn more about this effort, go to https://www.fairdistrictspa.com or to the local Warren League of Women Voters web page www.lwvwc.org (note wc for Warren Co.).

To support this effort, let your legislators know of your support. Contact District 65 House of Representatives member Kathy Rapp at (klrapp@pahousegop.com) and District 21 Senator Scott Hutchinson (shutchinson@pasen.gov). Hutchinson was a co-sponsor of 2021 legislation that would have established criteria for fair redistricting, so be sure to thank him for that in your email.

Phyllis Wright, Alice Pedersen and Susan Stout are members of the League of Women Voters of Warren County.


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